Economic Viability of Dairy Farming in Cold Desert of Ladakh: A Comparative Study of Different Species of Milch Animals


  • Harmeet Singh Department of Geography & Regional Development, University of Kashmir, Srinagar-J&K


The spatial variations in agro-climatic conditions, socio-economic set-up and the cultural milieu have a direct as well as indirect influence over the domestication of animals. The domestication of plants and animals are greatly influenced by physical factors like terrain, geomorphic processes and agro-climatic conditions. Among all geographical factors climate plays a dominant role in the development of dairy farming as climate is instrumental in the formation of botanical environment which ultimately determines the vegetation and animal association. In Ladakh, vegetation is very sparse, rains are very scanty and most of the land comprises cold desert and barren mountains devoid of any vegetative cover. The region has short agricultural season and production of maximum edible biomass is possible only through the development of pastures, fodder and crop roughages. As a result, dairy farming becomes an integral part of agriculture in this region. Among the various basic human needs that the animals fulfil, milk is the most important one. Dairy animals are the best means to convert local vegetative biomass into useful products and work. The milk conversion process is however, controlled by genetic and non-genetic factors of the milch animals. In this region, the native breed of dairy animals are mostly of indigenous zebu type (Bos indicus). They are late maturing animals with low yield of milk and have short lactation period. In this paper, an attempt has been made to compare the productive and reproductive performance as well as the relative profitability of crossbred cows, local cows, dzomos and yaks in the cold arid region of Ladakh. All the biological parameters of dairy animals such as age at first calving, lactation yield, and milk yield are higher among the crossbred cows followed by dzomo, as compared to their indigenous counterparts. The average daily milk yield per local cow was found to be 1.80 kgs, crossbreds 5.74 kgs, dzomo 2.63 kgs and yak 2.03 kgs. The study reveals that crossbred cows are more economical, provide higher yield and profitability than the local animal stock. Popularisation of crossbred cows in Ladakh region could prove to be quite beneficial and at the same time provide round the year employment to beneficiaries resulting in significant increase in their levels of income.


Download data is not yet available.




How to Cite

Singh, H. (2014). Economic Viability of Dairy Farming in Cold Desert of Ladakh: A Comparative Study of Different Species of Milch Animals. Journal of Rural Development, 33(4), 459–473. Retrieved from